Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hope Chest

I was just reading through some comments on another of my favorite blogs, Quiet Life, and the discussion turned to hope chests, which made me remember my own. Any of you out who have children, especially daughters, put this on your to-do list.

I loved my hope chest. It was one of the few traditional things about my upbringing. I spent many years filling it with things that I would need when I had a house of my own. My parents often gave me presents for birthdays and Christmas to help fill it out. ( I still use the iron that I got for Christmas when I was fifteen!) I am a dreamer and a planner, so there was no better activity for me. And when I did get married, and started unpacking it, memories came flooding back and I was surrounded by all of my favorite things.

It doesn't have to be fancy, (mine was only a chest in the most technical sense of the word; a box made of unfinished red cedar planks, with a hinged lid. But it did have my name on it, as I had two sisters and the boxes all looked the same :) and it doesn't even have to be a chest. I had a friend whose parents gave her a huge steamer-type trunk to fill. The important thing is to put into practice the art of preparing for the future and doing handiwork at the same time.

One of my very first embroidery projects was for my hope chest, a very ugly pair of pot holders that reside in my kitchen to this day. I have doilies and pillowcases that I decorated myself. Afghans and needlepoint samplers, and my baby things that I was able to use for my own daughter. My home is filled with a tangible record of my own girlhood.

Now, I know that some may think that doilies and needlepoint just aren't practical ways to use your time in this day and age, but I will tell you that the skills learned in doing them ( patience, self-sufficientcy, industry, pride in your own worth) are. So, fill it with T.V. remote cozies and computer covers if you think that will be more to your own tastes, but start one for your daughter and make her help fill it. She will thank you when she is grown and out on her own.

1 comment:

thicket dweller said...

This is such a sweet idea. I'm not sure I can stand to collect anything...I'm not really a "collector" outside of books, but I may just start.